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New Brewery Preview – Lone Pine, Portland

Lone Pine Brewing Company is the latest brewery to enter the scene in the Portland area. Their tasting room opens today, but how they got to this point is the focus of today’s post.

Sometimes we hear about new breweries that are going to open well before anyone else does. But this marked the first time that we were the first “outsiders” to learn about the plans for a new brewery. More about that in a little bit.

Lone Pine Brewing Company was founded by Tom Madden and John Paul. Classmates at Thornton Academy, they have remained friends for the past ten years since they have been out of school.

John began a career in the music industry, a journey that eventually took him to working in Los Angeles.

Tom began working for the family business, Madden Beverage in Saco. The store was mostly a macro shop, but eventually they were selling more and more craft beer and eventually home brewing supplies.

The only way to talk about and sell equipment is to actually use it, and Tom had no issues jumping in and learning how to brew beer. He also began studying for beer certification, and became a Certified Cicerone.

John would frequently come back to Maine, and he and Tom would get together to drink Tom’s beer. Inevitably the two discussed dreams to start their own brewery. Dreams turned to plans, a name and logo were selected, and the process of finding space and equipment began in earnest.

It was at this point that our paths crossed.

On March 4th of last year, my niece Rebecca and I were on a fact finding mission in York County. We stopped into Rocky Coast Brewing Company, a now closed brewery that was located on Route 1 in Ogunquit.

My mission was to see if there was a way to include that brewery on a future tour. But what I actually walked away with was a lot more than I expected.

Once the owner and brewer found out a little bit more about The Maine Brew Bus and what we do, he casually mentioned that the two guys at the end of the bar were also opening a brewery.

Tom and John were there to look at the brewing equipment and to taste the beers that were made on it. It turns out they were aware that the equipment was for sale, and that the brewery would be closing.

Tom’s wife Cat had worked with Zach at The Run of The Mill Public House and Brewery in Saco. Tom had spent a few nights hanging out at that bar, and he and Zach knew each other from that. So Tom was certainly aware of our company and what we were all about.

An early rendition of their logo.

In a moment of weakness after having a couple of beers, Tom and John talked a little too freely to me, a person they had just met. They told me about the name, showed me the logo, and discussed locations they were scouting in the Portland area.

It turns out that I was the first person outside of their families who had learned about their plans. I promised to keep it under my hat, and only discussed my findings with Zach.

Fast forward to November of last year. We met with Tom and John to learn more about their firmed up plans, that were still very much under the radar. We wanted to show them what our tours were all about, so we hatched an idea.

We would quietly put them on our Zymurgy Home Brew Tour, and they would be able to not only visit the homes of local home brewers, but also see two new breweries in South Portland. The tour stopped by the brewpub-in-planning Foulmouthed Brewing and also the not-quite-brewing Fore River Brewing Company. 

At Fore River we told everybody the big news. Those guys Tom and John on the tour were also opening a brewery, and that we all were invited to check out the Lone Pine space that was under construction on our way back to Portland.

Tom and John have welcomed our tour groups in a couple of other times as well. We were able to bring a group from the United States Bartenders Guild Portland Chapter into the space in January.

They also worked with us couple of weeks ago to bring the first public tour group through their brewery. This was the first time they could serve their beer, and our group on the Breaking Brews tour loved the insider experience. Many bottles and Lone Pine t-shirts were purchased that day.

The first public tour group at Lone Pine two weeks ago.

Last week they held a soft opening (doubling as John’s birthday party) for their family and friends. And once again they had no problem having our group in for a tour and taste right in the middle of it all. Portland Pale Ale and What What Wheat were served off the tap, and the group really enjoyed it.

Today the Lone Pine tasting room opens to the public. They are located at 219 Anderson St in Portland, the very pink part of the building. Their hours are Friday 4-8pm, Saturday 12-8pm, and Sunday 12-6pm. Watch their website for more days and more hours that they will be open, as well as where to find their beer on tap and in retail stores.

Also read more about these guys through Dave Patterson’s Beer Muse column, and also this profile story by Kathleen Pierce.

Stop by and say hi, and thank them for being such a great partner with The Maine Brew Bus. We’ll be there at 5pm with another sold out Breaking Brews tour group. Cheers to Lone Pine!

Don Littlefield is the General Manager of The Maine Brew Bus. He last enjoyed a Bissell Brothers Swish DIPA that was hand delivered to his door by a different brewery owner (don’t ask why). Twitter: @BeerinME